The IDF’s Remarkable Success against Hamas

In the almost two decades of its rule in Gaza, Hamas turned the territory into the 21st-century version of a fortress, in which an invading force would find itself fighting complex and dangerous urban battles impossible to win without losing thousands of soldiers. For this reason, among others, Israel refrained from trying to topple Hamas during previous rounds of fighting, and various analysts and American military figures cautioned against it. Edward Luttkak argues, however, that the IDF has so far achieved remarkable results, losing fewer than 300 soldiers since ground operations began. The success seems even greater given the recent freeing of hostages:

Regardless of what happens from now on, the Gaza fighting to date has been an exceptional feat of arms. A conservative estimate—the lowest I have seen—is that approximately 10,000 Hamas fighters have been killed or terminally disabled, along with an equal number of wounded who may or may not fight again in the future.

The sensational 1-to-50, or near enough, kill ratio achieved by the IDF in fighting Hamas in Gaza is all the more exceptional for reasons that neither official Americans nor official Israelis care to mention, albeit for different reasons.

Even more remarkable is that Israel has refrained from using many of the weapons and tactics best suited to this kind of warfare, in order to minimize civilian casualties:

By substituting low-frequency sensors, heavy earth-moving equipment, mini-drones, and bullets for jet fighters, heavy artillery, and smart bombs, Israel has effected massive cost savings while reducing its reliance on U.S. resupply—and taking the steam out of propaganda claims about bombing and artillery massacres.

Finally, Luttwak notes, Israeli forces possess something even more important than tactics or weaponry:

None of the above would matter if the troops fighting in Gaza were not determined to ensure that they will not have to come back, by fighting as hard and as long as necessary to grind down Hamas until nothing is left of its fighting strength.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, IDF

 

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy